/ 26 April 2021

WA lockdown measures could stick

Western Australia recorded no new local coronavirus cases yesterday on day 2 of a snap lockdown for Perth and the Peel region. In total, there are 2 cases of community transmission plus the original case, which sent the region into lockdown on Friday and cancelled Anzac Day services in those areas. Premier Mark McGowan yesterday said it was “too early to predict” if the lockdown will end on Tuesday but said it was likely there would be “an extension in some form of controls”. “I think people should get used to the prospect that some further measures will continue beyond Monday,” he said.

HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
A Victorian man tested positive after quarantining at the Perth Mercure Hotel in a room adjacent to a coronavirus case. The twist is, he had tested negative towards the end of his 2-week quarantine period and spent 5 days in Perth before he flew back to Melbourne and tested positive. That triggered the 3-day lockdown from midnight on Friday until midnight tonight. Since then, there have been 2 more positive cases – a friend of the Victorian man and a 40yo man who visited one of the locations where he had been. McGowan yesterday reiterated that WA’s hotel quarantine system was not sustainable after saying that he was “getting to the end of my tether” on Saturday. His calls to use Commonwealth facilities were shot down by Defence Minister Peter Dutton. Still, McGowan said the Federal Government had agreed to halve international arrivals to 512 from Thursday until 30 May. “However, if the Commonwealth is unable to assist with proper quarantine facilities, I am reluctant to return to the full 1,025 per week cap,” he said.

AND WHAT’S HAPPENING A LITTLE FURTHER AFIELD?
The number of new daily cases clocked almost 350,000 in India yesterday – another record high bringing the total to nearly 17 million since the pandemic began. Those numbers represent a fraction of the virus’ spread, according to experts, with more than 2,700 deaths in the 24 hours to Sunday. The situation is particularly bleak in the capital Delhi, where hospitals have warned they are at breaking point amid shortages in beds, medicines and oxygen supplies. India’s government has approved plans for more than 500 oxygen generation plants to boost supplies. International help is on its way, with the UK sending ventilators and oxygen devices and the US saying it will immediately provide raw materials for vaccines that had previously been under export controls. Meanwhile, at least 82 people have been killed and 100 more injured in a fire at a hospital treating coronavirus patients in Iraq’s Baghdad. Reports say the fire started in a storage area for oxygen canisters on Saturday before engulfing the ward.

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